Science, Tech, Math › Animals & Nature How to Use Crickets to Calculate Temperature Learn the simple equation behind Dolbear's Law Share Flipboard Email Print Tim Zurowski / Getty Images Animals & Nature Insects Basics Behavior & Communication Ants. Bees, & Wasps Beetles Butterflies & Moths Spiders Ticks & Mites True Bugs, Aphids, Cicadas, and Hoppers Amphibians Birds Habitat Profiles Mammals Reptiles Wildlife Conservation Marine Life Forestry Dinosaurs Evolution View More By Debbie Hadley Entomology Expert B.A., Political Science, Rutgers University Debbie Hadley is a science educator with 25 years of experience who has written on science topics for over a decade. our editorial process Debbie Hadley Updated March 10, 2020 Most people probably know that counting the seconds between a lightning strike and the sound of thunder can help track storms but that's not the only thing we can learn from the sounds of nature. The speed that crickets chirp can be used to figure out the temperature. By counting the number of times a cricket chirps in one minute and doing a little math you can accurately determine the outside temperature. This is known as Dolbear's Law. Who Was A. E. Dolber? A.E. Dolbear, a professor at Tufts College, first noted the relationship between ambient temperature and the rate that a cricket chirps. Crickets chirp faster as temperatures rise, and slower when temperatures fall. It isn't just that they chirp faster or slower they also chirp at a consistent rate. Dolber realized that this consistency meant that chirps could be used in a simple math equation. Dolbear published the first equation for using crickets to calculate the temperature in 1897. Using his equation, called Dolbear's Law, you can determine the approximate temperature in Fahrenheit, based on the number of cricket chirps you hear in one minute. Dolbear's Law You don't need to be a math wiz to calculate Dolber's Law. Grab a stop watch and use the following equation. T = 50+[(N-40)/4]T = temperatureN = number of chirps per minute Equations for Calculating Temperature Based on Cricket Type Chirping rates of crickets and katydids also vary by species, so Dolbear and other scientists devised more accurate equations for some species. The following table provides equations for three common Orthopteran species. You can click on each name to hear a sound file of that species. Species Equation Field Cricket T = 50+[(N-40)/4] Snowy Tree Cricket T = 50+[(N-92)/4.7] Common True Katydid T = 60+[(N-19)/3] The common field cricket's chirp will also be affected by things like its age and mating cycle. For this reason, it's suggested you use a different species of cricket to calculate Dolbear's equation. Who Was Margarette W. Brooks Female scientists have historically had a hard time having their achievements recognized. It was common practice not to credit female scientists in academic papers for a very long time. There were also cases when men took credit for the accomplishments of female scientists. While there's no evidence that Dolbear stole the equation that would become known as Dolbear's law, he wasn't the first to publish it either. In 1881, a woman named Margarette W. Brooks published a report titled, "Influence of temperature on the chirp of the cricket" in Popular Science Monthly. The report was published a full 16 years before Dolbear published his equation but there's no evidence he ever saw it. No one knows why Dolbear's equation became more popular than Brooks. Little is known about Brooks. She published three bug related papers in Popular Science Monthly. She was also a secretarial assistant to zoologist Edward Morse. Can Crickets Really Tell You the Temperature Outside? Why Do Crickets Stop Chirping When Approached? 10 Fascinating Facts About Crickets The Difference Between Grasshoppers and Crickets Grasshoppers, Crickets, and Katydids, Order Orthoptera How Do Crickets, Cicadas, and Grasshoppers Make Music? How to Calculate the Density of a Gas The Arrhenius Equation Formula and Example Graham's Law Example: Gas Diffusion-Effusion The History of Sonar Calculating the Concentration of a Chemical Solution How Insects Attract a Mate How to Calculate Density of a Gas Freezing Point Depression Example Problem Calculating Reading Level With the Flesch-Kincaid Scale How Are Nautical Miles Measured?